Animals are an important part of our lives. Some of us consider them our children. What happens if you and your spouse have pets and are divorcing? Who gets custody of the dog?
The question of who gets to keep the dog in a divorce can vary depending on several factors, including jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. In California, pets are considered to be personal property under the law. Therefore, during a divorce, pets are treated similarly to other assets and possessions that are subject to division between the spouses. However, California law does allow for some considerations regarding the well-being of the pet.
Here are some common considerations:
1. Ownership: The first consideration is typically who legally owns the dog. If one spouse owned the dog prior to the marriage or if the dog was a gift to one spouse individually, that spouse may have a stronger claim to ownership.
2. Custody Arrangements: In many jurisdictions, pets are considered property, and decisions about their custody are made similarly to other assets. If the spouses can agree on a custody arrangement, they may include it in their divorce settlement agreement.
3. Best Interests of the Pet: Some jurisdictions are beginning to consider the best interests of the pet when determining custody. Factors such as who primarily cares for the pet, who has a more stable living situation, and who can provide a better environment for the pet may be taken into account.
4. Negotiation and Mediation: Spouses can negotiate and mediate the issue of pet custody outside of court. They can work together to come up with a custody arrangement that works for both parties and is in the best interests of the pet.
5. Litigation: If spouses cannot agree on who gets to keep the dog, they may have to go to court, and a judge will make a decision based on the evidence presented and applicable laws.
If you have questions about the laws in Los Angeles County surrounding pet custody during your divorce, please call our office for a consultation. We are happy to help answer any questions you may have surrounding your fur baby!